Court closes Nyanzi’s case without her defense

By Sania Babirye
Buganda road has closed the case in which troubled Jailed Makerere University researcher Dr Stella is charged with offensive communication and cyber harassment for disturbing the peace of President Museveni and his late mother.

Grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu has been forced to close the case without Nyanzi defending herself after her alleged 19witnesses which she had claimed will compose her defense failed to turn up in court yet Nyanzi had chisen to stay silent.

While closing the defense case against Nyanzi’s lawyer’s wishes, the magistrate noted that she had given Nyanzi and her team enough time to hold their defense but non of of them including the suspect herself have been able to defend herself but instead chose to be silent.

However, Nyanzi’s lawyer, Isaac Semakadde has expressed disaffection saying the court has not been fair and just while handling his client since the magistrate refused to summon their defense witnesses.

The magistrate has now set the 1st of August to deliver her ruling.

On the 11th of July, after failing to have any of her alleged 19th defense witnesses to come to court and testify in her favor despite being summoned by court, Ssemakade told court that they have resorted to use newspaper advertisement to ask her would be defense witnesses to voluntarily come to court and testify in her favor which court refused to grant.

The magistrate had given Nyanzi and her lawyer two days (9th and 10th) to present all their witnesses, however, by 11th July only one witness an IT expert in computer hacking Mustapha Mugisa appeared in court and informed court that he cannot testify because he did not know why he had been summoned since he had retired 10 years ago and had no material evidence to provide making his opinion not relevant to Nyanzi’s case in anyway.

Ssemakade further informed court that they had been able to fully serve CID boss Grace Akullo and Makerere university associate professor Dr.Kakungulu Nayambala with the summons but all had deliberately declined to attend court asking the magistrate to issue a warrant of arrest for the witnesses which submission was declined.

He further informed court that they will be mobilizing their witnesses through Newspaper adverts and asked court to give them one month since its their remaining option since even court summons could not compel the witnesses to attend court.

However, Ssemakade put the whole blame for the failure of their alleged witnesses to attend court on the trial magistrate saying she refused to supply them with certified copies of the proceedings which some defense witnesses has requested for in order to accept the court summons.

State prosecutor,Timothy Amerit however accused the defense team of asking requests to prolong the case which only adds another number to the ongoing increased case backlog and asked court to dismiss their request.

According to Amerit, the defense team needed to just close its case because since they had failed to secure their own defense witnesses to attend court and defend his client which the magistrate agreed to.

On the 26th of June, Ssemakade revealed to court that although his client was not in position to defend herself now, however, she had 20 witnesses lined up to defend her.

These were led by President Museveni who is also the complainant and asked court to summon them.

However, the magistrate declined to summon President Museveni because as sitting President,he has immunity from prosecution or any other court proceedings and can only appear to testify voluntarily.

Others included CID boss Grace Akullo whom Ssemakade marked as their “star”witness, Dr.Mayambala.

Other witnesses included Prof.Sylvia Tamale(Feminist activist) prof.Fredrick Juko a former law prof.at Makerere university, Columnist Allan Taaka, Feminist Mildred Apenyo, princess Solome Nakaweesi, ass.prof.Dr.Ronald Kakungulu Mayambala at the Makerere university school of law , Bishop Zaaka Niringiye,Rev.Father Gaetano Batanyenda among others.

Ssemakade further asked court to prioritize the first witnesses to be summoned to testify led by President Museveni, Grace Akullo, Dr.Mayambala,Eng.Frank Kitumba who heads ICT at Makerere university and others can follow later but non of them responded to the summons.

Nyanzi is at Luzira prison after refusing to seek bail and she is facing charges including attacking the privacy of President Museveni and that of his late mother , Esteri Kokundeka through her social media Facebook page.

Prosecution states that on the 16th of September 2018, while armed with a motive to disturb the peace of President M7 and that of his late mother Esteri Komumtale, Nyanzi posted obscene messages on her official face book page(Stellah Nyanzi) while attacking the privacy of the President